The battle to save Bert's: Beloved Detroit jazz bar headed to auction

It's far from last call at Bert's Marketplace - yet so close to it, at the same time.

In less than a month the iconic jazz bar in Eastern Market will go up on the auction block.

"I'm going to survive, I'm going to survive," said owner Bert Dearing.

FOX 2 caught up with Bert.

FOX 2: "How do you stomach knowing there's so much history here and the fact in a month that all could be taken away from you?  

"Well life goes on," he said.

Bert's troubles began last year after being sidelined by an aneurysm, he left the club to his son. 

Business slowed down, some bills didn't get paid and Bert Dearing fell a few months behind on his mortgage.

"When I got back on my feet, I sent checks in trying to get caught up," he said. "But in the meanwhile it was probably already in a position they were getting ready to sell it off."

He tried to work out a deal to keep the property but it fell through. Come July 20, investors will bid on a local landmark.

Bert spoke about just a few of the big names that have performed there.

"Wynton Marsalis, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Funk Brothers, I've had Boy George," Bert said.

Now there's a campaign to save Bert's.

He sat down with the queen of talk radio WCHB's Mildred Gaddis - who can't help but notice a pattern amongst some black business owners in downtown Detroit.

"People who have been able to handle business, do business in the city of Detroit, people with integrity - all of a sudden under this new Detroit banner are struggling for their own survival," Gaddis said. "Here's the other tragedy. These business owners hire people from Detroit and these people are heads of households. The newcomers aren't hiring them, they're bringing their own people in."

Whatever the future holds, Bert Dearing is undaunted.

"This is just a building," he said. "I am Bert's. I've had the same clientele over the last 40 years and it's the people that make the place. The place don't make the people. I'm going to survive."

For now it's all about raising money. Dearing will have 10 days to match the highest bid to redeem the property. Bidding starts at $700,000.

If you would like to help Bert's CLICK HERE to donate on the GoFundMe page. 

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